Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Not the greatest rhyming title but I want to blog about something I've had to change in my own teams pre-season running program from what I observed at training earlier this week.

With my own personal training and the teams I program training for, I will always initially plan it all out in 1 go.

I will already know what the players have to get in (aerobic capacity, speed etc) plus I'll always have a bunch of other aspects I'd like to try and get in as well.

This season I'm doing my own team and another team in South Australia.

Although both teams are on different schedules with different pre-Xmas training frequencies along with infrequent training patterns of players, I've had to make various changes to the initial plan.

Our main aerobic running drill for my own team are the anaerobic threshold runs that I've written about a lot where you start out doing 2 sets for session 1 and finishing on 5 sets in session 4.

The other part of our training has been on speed development which 99% of local/amateur football players have not performed TRUE speed training and thus speed times are being improved across the board.

When you're top speed improves then that will carry over into the training tactical/skill drills where you're output will be higher when running at top speed compared to last year and greater output will usually result in greater accumulation of neurological and/or metabolic fatigue.

So this past Tuesday I had a bunch of players who have completed 2 and 3 sets of the anaerobic threshold runs and that night they were set for 4 sets.

Between training speed and training endurance, we perform our skill/tactical drills in which there was a lot of high speed running involved over medium to long distances, where the players were able to put their improved speed into action.

The players set off for the anaerobic runs and the pace was a little off, where most groups couldn't hold the same running speed that they were able to hold just last week.

I have now made the decision to cut these runs off at 4 sets instead of 5 because if you can't hold the speed at 4 sets, then you certainly won't hold the same speed for 5 sets.

Some of the players looked spent during the 2nd and 3rd sets of this the other night which I can put down to a couple of reasons.

#1 - As mentioned above above, the greater speed players possess now requires a greater output and thus greater energy so in-session fatigue is higher by the time we get to the aerobic component at the very end.

#2 - The accumulated fatigue from ever increasing speed development and the progressive increased aerobic capacity volume may be taking it's toll on the players which is when systemic fatigue sets in and what happens here is that the body is "under recovering' and the brain sends message after message to the muscles to decrease energy output so it can "catch up" which results in less speed and/or endurance. Unless you've planned a supercompensation phase, then to keep training at a high level right now will end up in disaster.

We also have an early practice game happening on Feb 17th, so to run blokes into the ground prior to the first practice game, the hardest game of the year and the one where injury risk is at it's highest could derail players seasons before it even starts.

The aim as a coach is to have all your players perform as many training sessions as they can, at the highest level they can so if you see some players laboring then they need a deload of some description or they'll carry this fatigue into practice games, where intensity of games is a lot higher then training, and injury is always at high risk.

As much as I'd prefer the players to do all 5 sets of the program, as I know that it would benefit them greatly, I have put a higher emphasise on speed development as it is working wonders right now so we'll keep all the speed stuff in, and drop a session of the anaerobic runs out.

After the practice game we might do another session of 4 runs to "top off" the anaerobic threshold phase, re-test out 6min time trial, then move into the glycolytic block before our 2nd practice match on March 17th or so.

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